Let me start by saying I was not expecting a great cruise with it being only the 5Th sailing of this new ship. I was figuring that the staff would be still working to get familiarized with the ship and each other. Our vacation started with a drive down from North Carolina to Ft. Myers, FL. 4 days prior to the sailing for us to be with my Mom on her 90Th Birthday. Saturday, Dec. 6th, we met up with the 2 other couples traveling with us and left to go to the port at about 12:00 noon. We arrived at the terminal at 2:00pm to find no lines and at 2:30pm found us in the Horizon Court having an afternoon snack and our first drink of many! Boarding was such a breeze!
I found the food in the buffet just OK. To me the buffet food was never hot!, just warm. The scrambled egg did not taste fresh! When having breakfast at the buffet my wife and I would always go to the omelet station for fresh hot eggs. The Dining Room food was excellent always hot and cooked exactly to order. I was a little disappointed when we only got 1 small lobster tail and two large prawns on formal night, this problem was easily solved by asking for 2 more lobster tails which were brought out immediately!
Our group of six signed up for the Chef's Table once we were on board the ship. We were notified a day later that our group was chosen to join six other people for this event. It costs $75PP, but is well worth it. You start by meeting Maitre d'Hotel Generoso Mazzone outside of the dining room, where you are given a lab coat and then escorted through the dining room into the galley where you are introduced to the Executive Chef Michele Cozzoli. Chef Michele then explains the workings of the galley while you are served with 4 to 5 appetizers with champagne. Upon the conclusion of the galley tour, you are escorted back through the dining room to your special Chef's Table that is decorated with a lovely floral arrangement with candles. You are served a complete dinner with two different selections of wines to complement the special meal that is created for the table.
The only entertainment that we took in was the group "Exotique" in the Explorer's Lounge and "Spank" a Doo-Wop group that performed in the Piazza. Both of these groups were excellent!
The ship itself is beautiful and well designed. Gone is the long walkway to Sky Walkers disco, and the shading of this walkway onto the deck below. Sabitini's is aft with windows looking out to sea with a terrace and fountains.
Compliments to Princess Cruise Line for creating such a beautiful ship and exceptional staff!
Ruby Princess is scheduled to do a 10-day Southern Caribbean itinerary in 2009 and our group is planning on sailing with her again on this itinerary.